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Feb 1, 2012

Valentine's Day Sewing -- YEA or NAY?



Readers, let's be honest.  As bad as the modern world can sometimes seem, all one has to do is take a peek back in time to realize that we've come a long way as a culture.

Gone are the days when the "little lady" would stitch herself up a special Valentine's Day duster (pictured up top) to surprise her other half, who would most likely surprise her with a toaster or other chrome-plated kitchen appliance.  (My mother herself experienced this in the Fifties and she wasn't happy about it.)





Speaking of the bad old days, last night I watched the cloyingly false, yet undeniably watchable nun-athon, 1966's The Singing Nun starring Debbie Reynolds  (Did Charles Schultz dream up that ad copy?).  Worst. Nun. Movie. EVER.



That said, if you like the song Domenique, you might enjoy The Singing Nun.  The fact that the real singing nun, Jeanine Deckers, upon whose life the film was (very loosely) based, later left the convent, came out as a lesbian, and killed herself in a bizarre double suicide love pact, needn't spoil the joys of watching Agnes Moorhead, sans Endora makeup, as Debbie's sour sidekick.  

But let's get back to Valentine's Day sewing.  Friends, it should come as no surprise to you that I strongly resent holidays like Valentine's Day, Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, and the like, when we're supposed to march in lockstep to the Hallmark Card aisle of our local Rite Aid drugstore and robotically purchase an overpriced greeting card which we're to dutifully sign, seal in an envelope, and hand to our loved one on February 14th, perhaps along with a cheap box of Whitman's chocolates.

Thankfully, as sewers, we have so many other options!

I don't quite understand why a woman would want a Valentine's Day apron, since, let's face it, she'd have to make it for herself.  I suppose it might be a sexy surprise if she showed up wearing nothing but the apron, but I don't think that was the original intention.  Or was it?







If an apron feels too retrograde, perhaps a Valentine's Day vest (upper left corner, below) might fit the bill?



Of course, little girls love Valentine's Day, at least according to the pattern companies.  What's cuter than a two year old decked out in hearts, ribbon, and lace?  Sadly, she doesn't come dipped in chocolate with creamy caramel centers.





If you wish, you can spend the next two weeks making Valentine's Day decorations, to fill your house with the spirit of the season.  A heart wreath!



A heart quilt!



Heart-shaped jewelry cases!



A...um...what is this, exactly?



Readers, in closing, will you be sewing something special for Valentine's Day?  Have you ever given -- or received -- a homemade Valentine's Day gift?  If so, was it appreciated?

Valentine's Day sewing -- Yea or Nay?

PS -- What's your favorite nun movie? 

59 comments:

  1. Peter,
    I will not be doing any Valentine's sewing. I, too, hate the contrived Hallmark Holidays. I have happily escaped that for Valentine's day. It is my daughter's birthday. (She will be 12, a challenging age for all involved.) We forgo all hearts for plain old birthday. This sets my husband and I free to celebrate our love in other ways. I like the idea of being sure you take the time to appreciate your loved ones, but just not in a sappy card way.

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  2. The Killing of Sister George starring the lovely Beryl Reid. x

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    Replies
    1. That's my favourite nun movie - just in case my comment doesn't make sense! x

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  3. No Valentines sewing for me. I'm going to Portland for a sewing course on the 14th! Woop! Could do with a wimple like that, it would sort out my double chins!

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  4. Whether or not I sew for Valentine's Day depends far more on whether or not I have the time and inspiration. I've given up objecting to holidays based on their Hallmark Corruption Factor, since it's basically inevitable, inescapable, and universal. I'd end up not celebrating any holidays at all. So, theoretically, I might sew a heart-shaped apron just because it was cute and I like deep red, even though I don't need any more aprons and don't have a Valentine.

    This year I'm making duct tape roses (in classic industrial gray) to send to my other single friends, and we're all going to drink $4 champagne and listen to death metal and &!#ch about stuff. Not because we're angry alcoholics, though; just on principle, to balance out the cheery-pinkness of it all.

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    1. I like your celebration of the "holiday", LBC. I used to do this with friends, too, because all the roses, pink and fluff is irritating.

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  5. Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows.

    I don't know where you found these patterns, but I think I may be going into diabetic shock over the "sweetness" of it all.

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  6. In elementary school back in the early 1960's we used to make hand made valentines for school & our friends. I don't recall any special Valentines' Day sewing projects. I might do so this year but over the decades I have found that it is very hard to find an appropriate Valentines' Day item for a male partner or husband. Most of the suggested items are for women- I don't think he'd appreciate an apron with hearts-

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  7. Such a downer about the holidays! But I dislike the commercialism of it, as well. I have young children, so I love to get into the spirit of holidays. My husband is more of the opinion, "I am supposed to show my love to you everyday, not just one day dictated by the calendar." And I agree with that.

    I love the Trouble with Angels!

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  8. Ohmigod! I JUST finished a darling, Vintage, pink, apron with heart pockets, and it's not even for Valentine's Day. It's being donated for a silent auction in April. I WILL be sewing a red sweater for my son for Valentine's Day. Last year I made him a heart pillow with arms and legs. He LOVES it. There's no way I can make him anything that he will love that much, so a sweater it is. LOVE the apron patterns!

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  9. I would like a V-Day apron or a new appliance. But I'm funny like that.....

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  10. I made boxer shorts in a Valentine print for my hubby one year. He liked them, but I haven't made him a pair since! Hmmmm....guess there is still time for this year......

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  11. My bf of 18 yrs and I usually exchange cards and sometime gifts. Nothing is set in stone. If one of us forgets that's cool. When I was single I never fretted over these holidays because I thought they included friends and family as well and didn't consider living alone and not dating bad. I think that's the upside of being an only child-being okay with singlehoodness.
    Favorite nun movie is "Song of Bernadette." When I was preschool age I watched that with the intensity of how kids used to watch Barney.Sometimes I would throw a towel over my head in order to channel her otherworldly powers. Nothing appeared.
    Back to Valentine's day: Love the '40's and '50's patterns but notice how frou frou-y stuff got later on? Ick.

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  12. No Valentine's sewing for me. First of all pink hearts and ribbons aren't my thing. Secondly, Valentie's Day was never a holiday I thought much about gift-giving. I mean, yeah, we did cards and stuff in school, and my dad likes to buy everyone chocolate, but other than that not so much. Besides, we all know the REAL holiday is the day after Valentine's - when all the candy wrapped in pink foil goes on sale at the grocery store!

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  13. I'm going to sew a heart t for my creepy bird. Only because it's a joke between my husband and I.

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  14. I can't imagine spending the time it takes me to sew to make something that is worn for only one day per year.

    DH is not the Hallmark holiday type. Some friends find it surprising, but I don't expect a valentines gift, and I don't worry about it.

    Nuns - the Penguin, in the Blues Brothers. :)

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  15. Replies
    1. Count? It's the absolute peak of the genre!

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    2. That's good news! I love that movie!

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  16. I don't even know how to answer this question because all I can think about now is making a Martin Luther King Junior Day Quilt. I need one. Everyone needs one.

    I'm actually thinking of making fabric valentines this year. I figure it shouldn't be too hard and I got this huge grab bag of lace for 2.99 this past summer and it's just taking up space, so it's this or open a lingerie store... But I don't think I would make a day-specific garment for any holiday, it's just too much work and you look demented.

    It's not a whole movie devoted to nuns, but the original Bedazzled has this great convent sequence, it's awesome.

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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  17. I bought the singing nun movie recently but haven't watched it yet. I'll have to now that you said it's so bad.

    I usually don't make V-day gifts and it's not a holiday I've celebrated too often-mostly when I was young and had a boyfriend and expected a gift.

    The women on the envelope of Simp 1359 don't look too happy to have those aprons either.

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    Replies
    1. Happy? They're positively scowling! ;)

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  18. I get very annoyed with the expensive and corny gift cards--especially during Valentine's Day. However, if you are in the position to have someone(s) special to share holidays with (especially Valentine's day), I also know its more important to consider what the other person is expecting/desires. And if that means a sappy store purchased card, flowers that will die, sticky candy, or a candlelight dinner, so be it. It's a small price to pay to make the Holiday's special for someone else.

    I applaud anyone who can make "everyday" special. I honestly don't have that kind of energy. I struggle with keeping the cap on the toothpaste and ensuring items are returned to their proper place daily. I do, however, use the opportunities that Holidays present to make special occasions. Eventually, over time, we build our own non-commercial traditions and memories.

    That being written, I would never sew anything for someone on Valentine's day, or any other day, unless I knew they wanted that. The only singing nun movie I know is
    "The Sound of Music" which I really do love

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  19. Valentine's sewing? Huh? I'm lucky to remember to don an apron at all - ever - let alone a themed one!

    However, if someone wanted to gift me with one of those lovely chrome appliances pictured, I would swoon, and give it a place of honor in my kitchen. The lines on a vintage (or vintage-inspired) kitchen appliance are usually to die for, imho.

    I'm with Debbie - The Sound of Music - of course it counts!

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  20. I wouldn't mind a new appliance, but then again, I have really expensive taste. Vitamix, anyone?

    I will be sewing the Hubster a pair of boxer shorts for V-day. Mostly because I'll embroider my name, tattoo style on the back. That way I can tell people he has my name written on his butt. lol

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  21. I do like the day after chocolate sale at the rite aid- those reese's peanut butter hearts are swell, but I have a 'no foisted on us holidays' rule too. I will however be getting out my 'Trouble with Angels' dvd, since you've got me thinking liturgically!

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  22. Hate Valentine's Day. Love McCall 1367 with the butt in the front. Favorite nun movie: Bedazzled (the original) of course.

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  23. As for nun movies...I quite liked Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg....not quite the same vintage ....but much better singing!

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  24. Well, pink and hearts is a bit dainty for me. But I do have a pair of boxers for Phin cut and waiting to be sewn. So maybe I'll have to finish them for Vday. We usually do make plans to spend the day together doing something fun, but it's never the typical dinner/roses/chocolate kind of affair. I think this year homemade chocolate truffles are on the agenda.

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  25. Would it be too strange for me to admit that I own McCalls 2282? Granted, I did *not* specifically buy it--it came in a large lot of vintage patterns, and I'd never make it. It looks, well, dorky! And I've dressed the girls in heart-printed fabric, but not specifically for Valentine's day. Around here, it's an excuse to make sugar cookies for the girls to eat!

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    Replies
    1. It's actually not all that bad, but why is a little girl's dress sheer?

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  26. My Aunt Ruth who was a nun, then an ex-nun, learned to play the guitar in the 70's and can you guess what her favorite song was. Yup!!! I can hear her right now along with another ex-nun side kick singing away in harmony.

    I have one of those apron patterns and quite love it.

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  27. Valentine's Day means chocolate, roses and red which are all my favorites. I don't sew for Vday because although i love the heart motif, I will only wear it in the form of jewelry. I have a collection of heart-shaped pendants. I don't know why but I thought Vday is for the guy to give the girl something. So, I have never given hubby a Vday gift. Maybe I should start sewing this year as I have always wanted to make a boxer for him out of valentine theme fabric. I am not sure if he will wear it though. On second thought, maybe a red robe will be more appreciated.
    Sue

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  28. LOATHE the Hallmark holidays, particularly this one! How many ways can you demonstrate "artificial"?

    Don't know about going au naturel beneath the apron, but wasn't there once a woman named Maribel (sp?) Morgan who advocated greeting the mister wearing nothing but Satan wrap?

    Ah, the good old days.

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    Replies
    1. Satan wrap? Is that a typo? Is that what we Brits call clingfilm?

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  29. My best friend and I dress up in pink, make red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, work on pouffy Valentines for all our nearest and dearest--and do it all while spending the evening together watching "Heathers" and "American Psycho."

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  30. Valentine's Day usually makes me want to barf. I will be making red velvet cupcakes for my kids to take to school, but mostly just because I wanted to try the recipe and that seems like a good way to not pig out on them.

    Nun movie: Nuns on the Run with Robbie Coltrane

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  31. Let me clarify that... VDay STUFF makes me want to barf. Spending time with my husband is always a pleasure, and we tend to do the loving each other everyday as opposed to just one;)

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  32. Favorite nun movie? BLACK NARCISSUS (1947), SOUND OF MUSIC & BEDAZZLED (1967), the latter with Peter Cook & Dudley Moore as nuns in the order of the Leaping Berylians :)

    Micky

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  33. Elaine (nobody you know)February 1, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    No Valentine's sewing. I will be too busy in therapy trying to get over the fact that I was never delivered a flower (check that, food coloring colored carnation) from an admirer during high school home room. Wasn't Sally Field a nun? A surfboarding one, right? She gets my vote.

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  34. No sewing, but I did make a baby quilt for a gift that had pieced heart squares, a folk shorthand for "this baby is welcome"! My favorite nun movie is The Nun's Story, where Audrey Hepburn is trained in Belgium and goes to the Congo to serve in a medical mission, and falls in love with the doctor, and eventually goes back to Belgium and leaves the nunnery for good. No memorable music, but Inspiring to my 14-year-old self.

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  35. If we are all barfing, why are Hallmark and their ilk still in business? Because of all that pent up Catholic guilt from too many nun movies !!! Lol. Anyway no fluffy aprons, but the best homemade Valentines ever are the sticky ones that your babies make in school and proudly carry home to you. There's Nothing like it...ever. Best nun movie ever? Has to be Black Narcissus with Deborah Kerr. It is a very compelling psychological thriller, not to be missed !

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  36. Valentine's Day....... one thing they will never tell you is that it's SO much better when you're not in a relationship! Personally, I'll take it over Christmas any day.

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  37. For V-day, usually we enjoy a nice dinner at home, nothing fancy or corporate-sponsored.

    Favorite nun movie: Nasty Habits, with Glenda Jackson and Melina Mecouri.

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  38. What about the Flying Nun? I know it's a TV show but I didn't realize until I read this post and the comments how many Nun related movies there were out there. It seems all these movies were made back in the days when people didn't need to be scandalized to be entertained...Real Nun's of Orange County is probably a hard sell, the convent life doesn't lend itself to scandal quite as well. It's more interesting to watch people glorify consumerism than glorifying God I guess, but you never know there is now that show "Virgin Diaries" so it might just happen. I'd be down to see what Nuns do I don't know anything about them really, there is a convent in my neighborhood, randomly, so they are out there.

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  39. Not a fan of Valentine's Day. Never was. The only good thing about V-Day is that I get to stuff myself with chocolate and drown out all the memories of not getting valentine cards in school -- kind of like Charlie Brown. My mom died on Feb 13, so that doesn't help, either.I do like the vintage, cutsie aprons, but I won't be sewing any to wear on this contrived one-day holiday. (Bitter, much? :) )

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  40. i loved the Flying Nun; Sally Field was awesome. Best/Fav Nun movie?: Dead Man Walking with Susan Sarandon.

    Valentines Day sewing?; LOL not in this lifetime!

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  41. That's one hell of an ugly swag of Valentines sewing patterns.
    As far as the day goes it's pretty stupid. My partner and I treat each other like it's Valentines Day EVERY day. We don't need Hallmark telling us when we should.

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  42. I had my very first sewing lesson (and basically my first real try at sewing) on a 14th Feb, so it is not known as VDay around here, but "Sewing day". And this year it'll involve some cosy movie, chocolate, fondling of expensive fabric and leafing through my Burda stash (no sewing on weekdays, alas). Maybe some online fabric shopping, too, ooops :)

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  43. QM, that sounds like an awesome way to spend VDay! The only way to make it better would be for my husband to enjoy the fabric fondling as much as I would. I guess there's always other things to fondle.....

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  44. The concept of Valentine's Day is nice, the commercialism... not so much. My husband and I cook dinner together. We pick and ethnic theme, do a little research, and work together on a 3 course meal. He usually buys me flowers, but I prefer carnations to roses and it's sometimes a struggle. Some years he has "disappeared" at the grocery store for a few minutes and flowers (paid for) appear in the cart. I find that amusing.

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  45. I'm generally opposed to sewing for holidays other than Christmas, Halloween, and every now and then New Years (sparkly dresses, yay!) -- but I will say that I love pulling out the bright red satin cocktail dress I sewed a few years ago for a Christmas party and wearing it for Valentine's Day (at home, because restaurants on VDay are even worse than cards, IMO).

    So no Valentine's Day sewing for me, but years ago a friend talked me into making hand-made Victorian-esque cards to give to all our friends, and I *loved* it. Cutting out little pictures from magazines, gluing on bits of lace and ribbons, specializing each for each specific friend, it was lovely. I haven't made the time to hand-make Valentine's Day cards since then, but I could see doing that in lieu of Valentine's Day sewing. I think I would rather send unexpected Valentine's Day cards to friends and family than send the expected "Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!" Christmas cards. Hmm hmm, I wonder what I have in my stash that could make this happen this year...

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  46. I'm afraid you hit too close to home with the wearable art "Seasonal Vests" pattern (a distant cousin to bad Christmas sweaters...). I have many, many bad early 90s theme clay buttons left over in my button stash -- hearts with little black stitching on them, die-cut fabric calico hearts and fat quarter packs to coordinate...followed closely by sunflowers, birdhouses and watering can themes. Throw in some Mom jeans, a t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and you are "good to go".

    I wince at the very thought of it.

    Gail

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  47. Those patterns look cheesy, like the holiday itself. I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day. I think it stems from the over-the-top showiness of it. Watching friends receive mountains of chocolate and flowers while talking my ear off about being soooo in love and the best couple ever...only to break up two days later.

    Imagine my surprise when my husband asked if we could celebrate it this year. I begrudgingly accepted at first, but now I'm looking forward to cooking a really nice meal for him (and watching American Psycho is a brilliant idea).

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  48. Oh, and I seccond the Sound of Music! How can you not love that movie?

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  49. What was the name of the Whoopi Goldberg nun movies? They're my faves.
    I have directions for some heart potholders, but just can't seem to get to them. I knitted some tiny wool hearts to stuff with lavender or catnip, depending on the recipient. They take about 5 minutes each, felt, sew 2 together and stuff, perfect.

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  50. Soeur Sourire, a 2009 biopic about Jeanine Deckers, is more realistic and worth seeing! Not sure whether it's available with English subtitles, though.

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  51. I will be sewing for myself for Valentines Day :)
    Im expecting and I'm going to make a simple maternity skirt in red for the occasion. V-Day also happens to be our 3rd wedding anniversary :D

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